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'Norman Foster has a carbon footprint the size of Africa, ' president Pringle announced at the end of the conference.

He was referring to Foster's giant Beijing Airport, although he then went on to praise the superstar for his decades-long commitment to environmentally conscious architecture. Foster himself drew a telling comparison between the four years taken to plan and build Beijing Airport in its entirety and the same amount of time spent simply on the public enquiry for Heathrow's Terminal Five. He forestalled the obvious argument. 'I know you will say that the UK is a democracy, ' he said, 'but did anybody seriously think that Terminal Five would not be built?' Score one to Norman, Astragal thinks.

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